SPEECH NOTES: 2021/22 Appropriation Budget – Vote 1 Office of the Premier

Issued by Kobus Botha, MPL

The report tabled by the chairperson on Office of The Premier (OTP) highlights the need for real change in the operations of our government departments, as they are struggling to deliver quality services.

We have seen how the operations of three departments have been hampered because HOD’s for Health, Education and DRDAR have still not been appointed.

Furthermore, the organograms for the departments of Public Works, Education, Health and Treasury have still not been finalized and approved by DPSA.

Operational conflict between certain MEC’s and HOD’s has cost the Eastern Cape millions of rands, with funds being returned to the National Treasury unspent, compromising service delivery. All of this has happened without so much as a slap on the wrist. No consequence management to speak of.

Political and administrative instability, and the lack of strong leadership, has destabilised the economic environment, with investors choosing to take their money elsewhere, and unemployment in the Eastern Cape remains the highest in the country!

Our expanded unemployment is now at a staggering 49,6%. While this is down 2,8% from the previous quarter, having nearly half of the province’s workforce unemployed and desperate for work, is nothing to crow about!

While our MECs and HODs are fighting over the spoils of position, our people are losing hope in ever finding work. Many have given up looking.

Next to get the blame will be the Covid-19 pandemic, but it was the ANC government’s heavy-handedness that slashed jobs, drawing up lists of what you can and cannot buy, destroying livelihoods with every pen stroke. It is the DA that has, from the very beginning, been calling for a balance of lives and livelihoods.

The DA will continue fighting for the economy and for jobs. Because jobs help fight crime. Jobs mean children stay in school. Jobs mean people do not go hungry. And ultimately, jobs mean dignity.

In the Western Cape, the DA-led provincial government’s economic recovery interventions, through coordinated action across government departments, have helped businesses create or save jobs in the middle of this pandemic.

The Community Economic Recovery project, which was launched in partnership with the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (EDP), has provided 225 community kitchens in Covid-19 hotspots with digital vouchers every two weeks that are then spent at nearby participating spaza shops, right where people live.

This intervention has provided small businesses with the opportunity to stay in business, while also helping those who are hungry.

The DA-led Western Cape Province Recovery Plan has helped create 7 493 job opportunities in the private sector, as of December 2020, with R4 billion rand in investment secured over the last financial year alone.

This caring DA-led government has assisted especially vulnerable communities, creating 27 148 job opportunities through our EPWP programme.

This is the real change that a working, functional DA-led provincial government can bring.

The report tabled today is a report of a broken province, a dysfunctional province, a province that does not put the people’s needs first.

If you want proof of what the people think of this government’s service delivery, we only have to look to the rising illegal and destructive service delivery protests across the province. More and more, the citizenry of the Eastern Cape are growing increasingly dissatisfied and disillusioned with the ANC government’s poor performance.

Disillusioned, hopeless and hungry, the people of the eastern Cape are embarking on destructive service delivery protests to vent their anger, disrupting transport routes and economic activity.

This ongoing violence places the lives of innocents at risk, while the ANC’s deployed cadres ignore the cries, using the chaos to further line their own pockets.

To those embarking on this illegal action, I want to say; shame on you. This is not the correct way to deal with a failing government in a democratic system.

Violence only begets violence. If you want to bring real change, then punish ANC incompetence and corruption at the ballot box.

Even President Cyril Ramaphosa urged people, not to be violent, but to vote them out of office, come the local government election day on October 27th.

This report highlights a lack in integrated policy formulation, planning, monitoring, reporting, evaluation and review of government programmes, including intergovernmental, stakeholder, and international relations management.

SMME services providers are still not paid on time, their bank details not verified and invoices not processed in time to ensure payments are done within 30 days, as required by the law.

Only 246 houses have been built for deserving Military Veterans, when 790 houses were promised.

Shockingly, the Premier is dragging his feet to get NMBM and other parts of the province declared as a drought disaster area, I wonder why?

The failures of the ANC are clearly highlighted in this report, reflecting a broken and corrupt province.

Inter-Governmental Relations (IGR) functionality remains a pipe dream; administration, after administration, Premier, after Premier.

Mismanagement has paralyzed the Department of Health. R4 billion rand of medico legal claims have drained the Department of money that could have been used to equip hospitals and appoint competent people. Interventions that are critical if these claims are to be prevented in the first place.

Can the Premier please inform the People’s Assembly, today, why he has still not appointed a medically qualified Chief Director, with assistant doctors to start dealing with all these legal claims?

Why is the ANC dragging its feet on the completion of Life Style Audits of politicians and officials, as was promised by the Premier in the fight against systemic corruption?

Speaker, where or what has happened to the Bhisho Precinct? Are there still plans to build the precinct, or has this all been a well-planned scheme to further drain the coffers?

This report indeed reflects a political challenged provincial government, with a broken, limping along administration.

But, I want to tell everyone that there is hope! Real change is coming to this province, and it is starting at local government level. People are learning what it means to live under a DA-led government. They are experiencing, first-hand, what it’s like to have a professional and competent state.

This scares the ANC! No wonder they will do anything in their power to see DA-led municipalities fail.

Real change is coming. Municipality, by municipality, metro, by metro, and district by district, the DA is bringing hope and real change that will improves people’s lives.

We will fix what the ANC has broken, because we care about the people. Where we govern, we get things done.

We believe that public representatives should be people centred, servant leaders with 21st Century Leadership attributes, oriented toward being inclusive, collaborative, and of service, to ALL individuals, the social good, and the ecological sustainability of mother earth.

The DA supports the report.

I thank you